Today, we’re reviewing the Xterra Fitness ERG600W. It’s one of the lower-cost water-resistance rowers on the market and provides smooth, strong resistance rivaling that of the doubly expensive WaterRower models.
I’ve had the chance to try several Xterra rowers including the ERG600W and have a sense of how it compares to other water rowers on the market.
In this review, we’ll go over the pros and cons, my own experience, the feedback I’ve received from readers who own the machine, and what I’ve read online.
The Xterra ERG600W is a great water-resistance rowing machine for the price. It offers a rowing stroke and workout quality equal to that of more expensive options. The ERG600W has an advanced LCD monitor that tracks 9 data points. The build quality isn’t great but good for the price.
The monitor has several different modes, too, including Race Against Computer mode and Stroke/Distance Countdown. It also has a heart rate monitor (chest strap sold separately).
The WaterRower brand does offer non-wooden budget rowers, but they’re still more expensive than the ERG600W and none of them include the S4 monitor (one of their main selling points). So, IMO the ERG600W offers the most value.
For the lowest price, I recommend major retailers since they tend to offer free shipping.
The Xterra Erg600W is a water-resistance rowing machine. Water rowers use paddles suspended in a tank to create resistance.
As a user pulls the handle and begins the stroke, the paddles start spinning and are forced to move the water in front of them.
As a user rows faster, the paddles must spin faster, and displace more water. This causes greater resistance.
So the faster a user rows, the more resistance they create!
We call this ‘variable’ resistance because resistance is controlled by how fast (or slow) a user rows.
An air rower works much the same way with air resistance getting more difficult as you row harder. In contrast, the difficulty level of a magnetic-resistance rower varies only as you adjust the setting.
I have an article that explains a little more about how ‘variable’ resistance works that you can read here.
The Xterra ERG600W offers a wide range of resistance so it’s suitable for all fitness levels.
You can control the difficulty level with rowing speed and/or how much water you add to the tank. To me, a full water tank on the Xterra Erg600W feels like a damper setting of 9 on a Concept2.
I found the resistance to be smooth, quiet, and strong.
One benefit of water rowing machines is the noise level. Water rowers are much quieter than air rowers, so users can row without bothering others and watch TV at normal volume levels.
The XTERRA ERG600W Water Rower has 6 levels of resistance.
The water tank (which measures 20.38″ x 7.87″ (51.76cm x 20cm) and holds 12.9 liters of water) has 6 different lines to measure the height of the water.
The higher you fill the tank, the more difficult it feels to row.
Think of a higher water level like rowing with more or less people in a boat. If you fill the tank to Level 1, it will feel like you are rowing a boat by yourself. If you fill the tank to Level 6, it will feel like you are rowing a boat full of people.
Resistance is created due to the drag of the water moving over the paddles in the tank. It has to do with what is called the “Rule of Cubes” which says that a doubling of speed would cause an eight-fold increase in resistance.
This, of course, would require 8 times the effort to overcome that resistance.
To get even more technical, according to XTERRA Fitness, the resistance at level 6 (max level) is roughly 275 Newtons.
There are 2 adjustments to make to the Xterra Water Rowing Machine.
First, you must fill the tank to the appropriate level. A water pump and siphon are included to help add or subtract water from the tank.
This can become a little annoying, so I would suggest finding your optimal level and sticking with it.
The second adjustment is the bungee cord that controls the recoil of the rowing handle. While this doesn’t directly relate to resistance, I figured this was a good section for it.
There are 3 hooks on the bungee cord that control the “assisted return” of the handle and mesh belt (see photo above). There are very easy instructions to follow in the manual but I figured it was worth mentioning!
The Xterra Erg600W comes fully equipped with a large 5.5″ LCD performance monitor.
The monitor will track the following workout data:
- Total Time
- Strokes/Min (SPM)
- Room Temp
- Pulse (only with HRM)
As you can see, this monitor can track a ton of data! Plus, it has super easy-to-read sections with large display numbers (as shown below).
The monitor functions with 6 easy-to-use buttons and the navigation is simple. A great benefit of this monitor is the 5 programmable workout modes:
- Race Against Computer
- Time Countdown
- Distance Countdown
- Strokes Countdown
- Calories Countdown
So, lots of useful features. For a certain amount of work, use the Strokes Countdown mode or use the Calories Countdown feature if you want to target a certain number of calories burned.
Once you are finished with your workout, simply press the recovery button and see how fast your heart rate can return to a normal BPM (beats per minute).
This is a great gauge for how “in shape” you are but the chest strap is sold separately. It can only be used with a 5.3 KHz chest strap heart rate monitor. One very popular model is the Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor.
The Erg600w monitor does come with 2AA batteries so you don’t need anything when the rower arrives and it won’t need to be plugged into an outlet.
Overall, users felt this was a very good monitor for this price range and was much better than monitors on similarly priced rowing machines.
Luckily, there aren’t too many complaints about the ERG600W.
I found the rowing motion to be strong and sturdy due to the solid steel frame and dual aluminum slide rails.
Importantly, no one seems to notice any wobbling or creaking noises while rowing with this machine, which speaks to the sturdiness of the frame.
The water tank is high-quality, made from durable polycarbonate plastic, and pressure tested.
This model uses a “rowing strap” rather than a chain, but it’s durable and shouldn’t fray or break. The seat also felt durable and glided smoothly on industrial ball-bearing rollers.
Quality Issue: Footrests
The only issue this rowing machine has is the durability and functionality of the footrests.
On some models (seems like older models), the “heel cup” portion of the footrest would break. The reason the “heel cup” would break is due to the user’s shoe getting caught on the plastic and when a user would raise their heel while rowing, it would catch and crack.
If you look at the photos of the Xterra footrest with a shoe, you can see what I mean
The “heel cup” would split down the middle and users would have to use duct tape to fix.
Another issue is the “holes” where users adjust the footrest height do not stay in place properly. You slide the footrest up or down and place a “button” into the “holes”.
It seems like the plastic was slightly bent which made the “buttons” pop out. To fix this issue, you would have to take out the footrests and slightly bend the plastic so they curve the proper way.
It sounds a bit confusing but it is a really easy fix.
I believe XTERRA has resolved these issues, as there don’t seem to be many recent complaints.
Overall, folks are happy with the build quality of the XTERRA Fitness ERG600W. Most feel it provides a strong, sturdy base free of squeaky noises.
The only issue is the quality of the footplates and this is usually an easy fix and if it comes down to it, Xterra Fitness customer service will replace them.
Check out the ERG600W in action below:
The sport involves prolonged sitting, so making sure you buy a rowing machine with a nice seat and comfortable/smooth rowing action is super important.
The Xterra Fitness Erg600W provides a smooth, uniform, quiet stroke with little to no lag.
I’ve yet to hear of any issues with the large, contoured seat, and the ergonomic handle is contoured and padded which is nice.
The rowing seat rail is also 13.5″ off the floor which makes getting on and off the rowing machine a bit easier.
The end-caps can be adjusted to keep the rower stable on uneven surfaces which probably contributes to the lack of noise created by the rowing motion.
Storing the Xterra Erg600W Water Rower is straightforward.
All you have to do is slide the seat to the front of the rail and lift from the rear support. Simply lift the rower upright until it rests on the front storage support.
When stored, the Xterra rower takes up 33.0″ x 22.0″ of floor space.
Moving the Erg600w rower is also very easy. Just lift from the rear support until the wheels touch the ground and roll forward.
Capacity: Max User Weight and Height
The weight capacity is 300 lbs, which is average for a rower in this price range. The maximum user weight for more expensive machines often reaches 1000 lbs.
XTERRA Fitness commented that the ERG600W is suitable for anyone up to 6’4″ tall, which is also a pretty good height limit.
I’ve seen where users as tall as 6’3″ use this model and the tallest said he had room to spare on the seat rail.
The design of the rower does not pose any limitation to smaller users, so as long as you are shorter than 6’4″ you should be fine to use the Erg600w Water Rower.
- Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H): 80.7″ x 22.0″ x 33.0″
- Stored Dimensions (L x W x H): 33.0″ x 22.0″ x 80.7″
- Assembled Weight: 82.7 lbs
- Shipping Weight: 104.7 lbs
- Shipping Dimensions: 45.0″ x 22.5″ x 20.5″
The Xterra Fitness Erg600w assembly calls for some effort, but the instructions don’t look too bad.
All of the tools, parts, and batteries come in the package so no need to have anything prepared.
When looking at the assembly manual, there are basically 5 main steps to piecing together the rower.
- Connect the rear stabilizer to the seat rail
- Connect the front stabilizer to the frame with end-caps
- Assemble the seat onto the seat rail and connect the rail to the main frame
- Attach the console
- Fill the water tank
As mentioned, the water tank needs to be filled with the funnel and siphon pump. You will also have to add a water purification tablet.
The purification tablets help the water from getting mildew. Never use bleach or chlorine.
From what I read, most users assembled the rower in 20-40 minutes by themselves. The box does weigh 105 lbs, so you may want someone to help if that seems heavy.
Take your time and it should all go together smoothly!
Pros and Cons
- Smooth water resistance
- 6 levels on the water tank corresponding to the resistance level
- Multi-function LCD monitor
- Solid construction
- Great price point!
- Excellent warranty
- 13.5″ seat height
- Poor footrest quality & design
- Long shipping times
- Adjusting water levels can be tedious
The Xterra Erg600w warranties are as follows:
- Frame: 5-Years
- Parts: 2-Years
- Labor: 90-Days
Consumers also mentioned XTERRA Fitness having great customer service and having no issues replacing parts.
ERG600W Water Rower Review: Conclusion
Overall, the Xterra ERG600W is a great option if you are looking for an affordable water-resistance rower that provides a great workout.
For a budget water rower in this price range, there aren’t many negative things to say. Budget water rowers run a bit higher price-wise compared to budget air and magnetic rowing machines, but the quality is usually better.
With the steel frame and aluminum side rails, the ERG600W is a sturdy machine overall. Some of the parts are a bit cheap, but the machine should provide several years of continuous use.
For comparison with another great water rowing machine (maybe the only mid-range water resistant alternative), see my Obsidian Surge Water Rowing Machine review.
If you want a higher priced water rower, consider the WaterRower brand. The A1 is hardly a budget rower by industry standards, but it’s one of their least expensive models. You can see the WaterRower A1 review.
Then there are air machines to consider. IMO, the best thing about using a water rower machine, is the realistic rowing experience created by the sound. However, air rowers are the choice of rowing athletes for both indoor and on-water rowing.
So, I have to mention the #1 bestselling rowing machine. It cost more but it does have a much better monitor (in my opinion), better build quality, and is the rower you’ll need for getting into the hobby as it’s the one you’ll use in CrossFit gyms and rowing studios. Check out my full Concept2 review here.
I hope you enjoyed my XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower review! Please leave any questions or comments below.
Rowing Machine King Founder and Author.